Help with first electric guitar choice
Good initial question and farily interesting debate!
My thoughts on this:
I think it is pretty obvious that choosig a guitar has much to do with identity. At least initially - it is about finding a guitar that like Nick(?) said above - speaks to you. The speaking does not only has to do with the tone, but also the feel of the tuners, the shape of the neck, and more subtle things like the image it makes in your head. You want a guitar that signalise something about whou you are as a guitar player etc. This holds even for experienced players - there is a story about Bob Dylan choosing guitar for a gig together with grateful dead, Bob saying: "Well the Fender plays really well, but this one *picking up a "Pepto-Bismol Pink" modulus guitar* really is the right color isn't it?" (Howard Sounes: Down the highway)
For most of us the guitar is not the limit for what we play. I'm sure there are some players who need just That guitar to create just That sound, but for most of us, with a decent amp and your average-joe technique pretty much any guitar could be a rational choice. My point is that these choices (like many of the important choices in life) are not rational in the sense the ecnomists would like us to believe: The rational choice involves a consistent, stable and transitive preference ranking, alligning all relevant alternatives, searching for complete information about all the alternatives, making a choice that maximizes utiliy. etc. ... Often it is not like that at all: First we decide - then we collect information to corraborate our choice. And then we do all we can to post-ratioalise the choice - how often do you see postings stating - "well I have a couple of guitars but none of them are really any good at all"? (just like science - negative findings don't get published - "well I've been doing research on this topic for 2,5 years and it turns out that my hypotheses weren't correct - sorry, will get back to you later" ;) )
Anyway, on guitars : I have not played *great variety* of guitars - but I have some experience over the last 15-20 years. I have had a Squire Strat and never really really liked it - dunno exactly why, but it didn't feel like the US strat I borrowed over some years at the same time. Because I never got any good I closed down the electric guitar career and played accoustic only for some 10 years. A few years ago I got an Epi LP and felt really home at once - the quality seems to be excellent the sound of the humbuckers suits me well, and it looks good - black and white. But then I've never had a Gibson. Then yesterday I got myself a Feder telecaster. I've been thinking about gettig a Tele for some time. and I've tried the squires ad the Feders in a shop. if you start with a squire you will probably think - "wow this is good value for money", but if you pick up a Fender afterwards you wil probably realise that there is a reason for the difference in price - at least that is my experiece. My plan is to put .09 strings on the Tele for blues / rock and stick to .010s on the Epi for more rhythm stuff. On the cheaper brands - I can tell straight away that I would not like a SX - I get the same feeling like I do from a 99$ mountainbike from the grocery store. I've never touched an Agile tho'
So - finally - what have I been saying?
Extract all the infomation you can from e.g. this forum, and reviews in magazines. Sneak away to a guitar shop once you can - try some guitars in your price range and see which one you like. You will know.
One final suggestion - coming from accoustics - you might want to consider something like the Ibanez hollow-bodies - they some of them feel pretty much like an accoustic.
...only thing I know how to do is to keep on keepin' on...
LARS kolberg http://www.facebook.com/sangerersomfolk
This has been a good discussion.Many vital points have come out through it.Every one has something valuable to suggest , which must have helped the person concerned and should guide many others who are going to buy a new guitar alike.